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batteries and solar components need numerous extracts of minerals and a bunch of chemistry as well but as.you pointed out the solar lobby is happy to ignore all that when claiming they are a clean source of energy.

No source of energy is clean, in that respect. The best you can do is separate one time production and continuing operating pollution, and account for both. Using that to show pollution per Mhh at 5, 10 and 20 year intervals should be sufficient.

Reiterating my original comment, it would also be good to distinguish between the whole-lifecycle pollution generated now, with current electrical and transportation infrastructure, and the whole-lifecycle pollution you could achieve if you applied the "clean" technology to the whole lifecycle.

For example, solar panel production requires a lot of electricity. That electricity is mostly generated from fossil fuels. But if you supplied that electricity with solar panels instead, it would be way cleaner. Which is correct? We should probably present both numbers, if possible.

An optimistic upper bound (unlikely but possible renewable adoption for material production energy), and pessimistic lower bound (current mix of evnergy for material production), and a best guess. That might convey enough information to give someone a good guess as to how things might turn out.

It starts to sounds complicated, and to be a lot of information to digest for a decision, but another way of looking at it is that correctly assessing and planning for energy needs in the future is so important that ignoring information like that when making an assessment is irresponsible. We need more nytimes.com style widgets that allow you to tweak the values to easily digest data like this, and that clearly reference where the data and assumptions come from.

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